May 11, 2006

VISTA – A Marine accused of beating his 11-year-old son over a bad report card so badly that the boy was taken to a hospital pleaded not guilty yesterday to felony child abuse.

Michael Anthony Walker, 29, of Vista also is charged with spousal battery and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors, said prosecutor Steven Carver. If convicted of all the charges, Walker faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison, Carver said.

An attorney with the Public Defender's Office, who was assigned to represent Walker, said there wasn't enough information to comment on the case.
Walker became upset at his son over the report card about 6 p.m. Monday, at their home on Hacienda Drive near Evelyn Lane, authorities said.

He slapped his son and beat him with the buckle side of a belt as the boy cowered against a wall, Carver told Judge Adrienne Orfield during the brief Superior Court hearing.

Walker's wife attempted to intervene but was pushed away while Walker continued to hit the boy, Carver told the judge.

“She tried to pull him off from hitting her son and he pushed her off,” the prosecutor said in court. “This is not parental discipline where he put the child over his knee and paddled him.”

Walker then challenged his wife to call the police and promised to beat their son again if he was arrested and released from jail, Carver told the judge.

Deputies were called to the home by neighbors who heard the disturbance, authorities said. Walker resisted attempts by deputies to place him under arrest and was hit with pepper spray before being handcuffed, authorities said.

The boy, who was taken to a hospital for treatment, was beaten on his head and body, authorities said.

Carver cited the serious nature of the charges in asking the judge to increase the bail amount from $10,000 to $50,000. Orfield granted the request and ordered that Walker stay away from his son if he is released on bail.

Walker is scheduled to return to court May 22.